Coercion and Cowardice: When Will it End?

The United Steelworkers of America are at it again!

Once again this socialist, N.D.P.—supporting union is desperately doing its utmost to make life miserable for CLAC member Dirk Hoogendoorn, who resolutely refuses to support, in any way, the Steelworkers as a condition of his continued employment with Greening Metal Products and Screening Equipment Company—the Orangeville firm he was the first to join more than ten years ago. This time, however, the Steelworkers are recklessly resorting to new but more revolutionary tactice: they walked off their jobs on Friday, March 18, and have vowed. to stay out until Mr. Hoogendoom compromises or loses his job!

This illegal strike is attracting much public attention. It is believed to be the first strike because a Canadian worker has the Christian conviction and courage to stand up to the powerful pressure of a union that dictatorially tramples on the Christian principles.

Much to the surprise of many and to the dismay of some, Mr. Hoogendoorn goes to the plant every day. He is the only one working, however. As he comes and goes, under the watchful eye of the Orangeville police, he has to listen to much yelling, jeering, and even cursing. Every morning, noon, and night Mr. Hoogendoorn is loudly greeted with a barrage of insults shouted by about 25-35 gesturing and placard-waving picketers. At night he is telephoned and viciously subjected to the abusive, name-calling language of anonymous cowards.

This disgraceful display of incredible ignorance tians cannot in good conscienee lend any support to this freedom-destroying movement.

The readers will recall that Mr. Hoogendoorn was reinstated on April 5, 1965, after his employer, at the insistence of the Steelworkers, had fearfully but wrongfully fired him and two other Orangeville CLAC members for refusing to sign an authorization to deduct union dues from their wages. Ever since, the Steelworkers have been frantically trying to give Mr. Hoogendoorn a rough time by giving him the “silent treatment.” When they finally realized that this ugly tactic would not have the desired affect, namely, compromise or departure, the Steelworkers devilishly decided to go all the way by rebelliously refusing to work alongside of a fellow Canadian who genuinely cherishes and exercises our God-given freedom in a Christian way.

Besides actively supporting the Orangeville CLAC local, Mr. Hoogendoorn voluntarily pays 55.00 per month, the equivalent of Steelworkers dues, to the Canadian Red Cross to prove that he is not a “free rider” and that he, unlike others, is not at all unwilling to part with his hard-earned money. He simply insists that he be allowed to join the organizations of his choice and that no one compel him to support the N.D.P.-promoting Steelworkers or any other union that ignores or violates the Christian principles and practices he loves. And rightly so.

Today, March 23, the Stcelworkers’ strike is in its fifth day: the picketers continue their sickening and degrading practices, the police keeps a close eye on the explosive situation, and Mr. Hoogendoorn does his daily work knowing that he should obey God rather than men.

Mr. Hoogendoorn knows that he is not alone in this exhausting fight for freedom of organization and religion. The steadily growing army of CLAC and CJL Foundation supporters is whole-heartedly and prayerfully behind him. A Foundation representative travels daily to Orangeville to encourage Mr. Hoogendoorn, to accompany him on some of his trips to and from the plant, and to give him whatever advice and assistance he needs. Acting in the interest of freedom and on the advice of its legal counsel, Mr. Brian Kelsey, the Foundation has decided to take the issue to Court, should Mr. Hoogendoorn be dismissed.

Such legal action should, of course, not even become necessary if the Steelworkers and the Ontario Government would recognize their respective rights and responsibilities. In view of their prevailing discriminatory policies, a real change of heart may be too much to expect.

The writer of these lines, as General Secretary of the Christian Labour Association of Canada and no stranger in this magazine, indicates how the fundamental liberties of men are being imperiled by the lawless methods of the United Steelworkers of America.